Press Releases

Responsible dog ownership is not a matter of race says SPCA

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Media Release - 26 January 2015


The Royal New Zealand SPCA strongly disagrees with Bob Kerridge’s recent comments in the media in which he links ethnicity with the high number of dog attacks in South Auckland.

“Bob’s comments are his personal views and do not reflect the views of the SPCA,” says Ric Odom, CEO of the Royal New Zealand SPCA, the national organisation that oversees 47 SPCA centres throughout the country, including Auckland.

“We would also like to clarify that Bob Kerridge does not speak for the SPCA as a whole – his position is Executive Director of SPCA Auckland only.

“Our staff, volunteers, and supporters include people from many different ethnic backgrounds who all share a common goal of advancing animal welfare in New Zealand. We proudly work with anyone who shares our common vision and would be horrified if Mr Kerridge’s comments led anyone to think that his personal views on ethnicity were shared by the SPCA. They are not.

“The SPCA believes responsible dog ownership is something every dog owner should practice regardless of their ethnicity or socio-economic status. If owners are not acting responsibly towards their animals we believe they should be held accountable, which is why we prosecute people accused of animal welfare offences.”

Responsible dog ownership includes training, socialising, registering, and desexing the dog, plus making sure the dog is not able to leave the owner’s property unrestrained.

“The onus is on dog owners to find out what their responsibilities are and act accordingly. Information about responsible animal ownership is freely available throughout the country from local councils and any one of our 47 SPCA centres so there really is no excuse for not doing the right thing,” says Mr Odom.

About the Royal New Zealand SPCA

The Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is the national body that oversees the work of 47 SPCA Centres across the country to help advance the welfare of all animals in New Zealand by preventing cruelty to animals, alleviating suffering of animals, and promoting animal welfare policies through education and advocacy. The Royal New Zealand SPCA is a registered charity (Charities Commission number CC22705) and operates under the Animal Welfare Act 1999.


For more information please contact: Ric Odom, Chief Executive Officer, Royal New Zealand SPCA, DDI: +64 9 825 1801, Mobile: +64 27 481 1300, Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Puppy falls from ute and is dragged, owner convicted

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Media Release - 21 January 2015


On 3 September 2014, 37-year-old Tauranga man Jarrod Wharekawa tied ‘Temtem’, his 5-month-old Staffordshire Terrier crossbred puppy, to the back of his ute and drove off. Somewhere down the road, Temtem jumped or fell off and was dragged along the road for some distance.
Wharekawa took the puppy to a vet clinic where the veterinarian observed that the flesh on its right hind leg had been ripped open to expose the bone, which had been snapped in two.
Tendons were severed or missing and the bone had been ground down significantly by the road surface. The skin on the puppy’s rear and other places on its body had been rubbed raw exposing the flesh underneath. The veterinarian suspected the pelvis was also fractured.
Wharekawa refused to accept the veterinarian’s advice that euthanasia was the best option to end the puppy’s suffering. So the puppy was released under strict instructions for it to be returned for further assessment the following morning. Following Wharekawa’s failure to return with the puppy, the clinic informed the Tauranga SPCA.
SPCA Inspector Jason Blair visited Wharekawa’s property later that day but was verbally abused by Wharekawa’s father and informed the puppy was dead. The Inspector applied for a search warrant and returned the next day to find the puppy still alive. The Inspector seized the puppy and took him to the vet clinic to be euthanised. By now the puppy’s wounds were malodourous and infected. Post-mortem radiographs confirmed that both hind legs and the pelvis were fractured.
Jarrod Wharekawa pleaded guilty yesterday in the Tauranga District Court to two charges: one of failing to protect his puppy from significant injury by tethering it on the back of his utility vehicle in such a manner that did not prevent it from falling or jumping off, and a second charge of keeping the puppy alive when it was it was suffering unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress.
He was sentenced to 100 hours community work for each charge to run concurrently and ordered to pay reparations of $637.90.
According to Tauranga SPCA Inspector Jason Blair, the case is an example of an otherwise compassionate and responsible dog owner placing his puppy at risk by transporting him unsecured on the back of a vehicle and failing in his obligation to end the puppy’s suffering when severe injury occurred.
“The owner obviously didn't wish his puppy to be injured in the first place and his reluctance to return to the vet clinic may have been due to his not being able to face having his pet euthanised,” says Mr Blair.
“This does not, however, change the resulting severe suffering of the animal. Animal owners must be aware that they have a duty of care and protection over their animals and a responsibility to alleviate the pain of a suffering animal. The owner’s failings in this case were inexcusable and charges were laid accordingly.”
Royal New Zealand SPCA CEO Ric Odom says the SPCA and veterinarians see the consequences of animals falling from moving vehicles all too often and the resulting injuries are often horrific.
“Society has moved on from travelling with unrestrained children in the back of vehicles and we now need to extend the same sort of consideration to the safety of our animals. A ‘she’ll be right’ attitude can no longer tolerated when it comes to the transportation of animals on utes and other vehicles,” says Mr Odom.
“Recently developed codes of welfare around transporting animals reflect this shift in societal attitude. People that transport their animals in an unsafe manner run the very real risk of being prosecuted should injury occur.”
The Transport Within New Zealand Code of welfare (Minimum Standard No. 11 – Transport by Road) states:
Vehicles carrying animals must be operated in a manner that does not cause animals to fall or be injured during travel.
When being transported on the open rear of a light truck (such as a utility vehicle or flat-bed truck), dogs are best protected from the elements. They should be secured by attaching them close against the cab with a swivel between the securing point on the vehicle and the collar, and with the securing lead or chain long enough to permit the dog to stand and, lie down and move about but not of a length that allows the front or hind legs to reach the side of the tray when the animal is standing in a normal posture.
The Dog Code of Welfare (Minimum standard 20 – Transportation) states:
(d) Except for working dogs at work, dogs must not be carried on the open rear of a moving vehicle unless they are secured or enclosed in a crate.
The recommended best practice section provides further guidance stating in the same wording as the transport code that; When dogs are tethered on the back of an open vehicle for transport, the securing lead or chain should be long enough to permit the dog to stand, lie down and move about but short enough to prevent the dog’s legs from reaching the side of the tray so that it cannot fall off or enter the cab of the vehicle.
Press release 21 Jan 2015 2   Press release 21 Jan 2015 1
 ABOVE:  Injuries sustained by Temtem after being dragged behind the ute.
For more information please contact: Ric Odom, Chief Executive Officer, Royal New Zealand SPCA, DDI: +64 9 825 1801, Mobile: +64 27 481 1300, Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

SPCA welcomes glueboard traps ban

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Media Release - 18 December 2014


The Royal New Zealand SPCA applauds the ban on the sale and use of glueboard traps in New Zealand.

Glueboard traps are boards with a sticky glue layer that are used to capture and hold live rodents. The SPCA considers the level of pain or distress caused to animals trapped on glueboards to be unreasonable and says that adequate alternatives are available.

“Once captured on a glue board, an animal is unable to free itself from the adhesive, and will generally bring more body parts into contact with the adhesive as it attempts to free itself. In doing so the animal will tend to further entrap itself,” says Ric Odom, RNZSPCA CEO.

“Animals may, in their attempts to free themselves, rip patches of fur out or break limbs. They may also defecate and urinate excessively from panic and distress.

“It gets worse. Unless animals that become stuck on glueboards are promptly killed using a humane method, they will be at increasing risk not only from injuries associated with escape attempts, but also from starvation, dehydration, exposure, possible injury through aggression from other animals, or suffocation if their muzzles become stuck in the glue,” says Mr Odom.

The ban under the Animal Welfare (Glueboard Traps) Order 2009 was announced yesterday by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and comes into effect from 1 January 2015.

“Glueboards are not an acceptable or humane way to control rodent populations. We welcome MPI’s announcement of their prohibition in New Zealand and we join with MPI in asking New Zealanders to keep an eye out for any glueboard rodent traps being used or sold in 2015. If you see any glueboard traps being sold or used, please report them to your local SPCA or MPI’s animal welfare hotline on 0800 008 333. Calls can be kept confidential if necessary.”

For more information please contact: Ric Odom, Chief Executive Officer, Royal New Zealand SPCA, DDI: +64 9 825 1801, Mobile: +64 27 481 1300, Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Proposed caged chicken farm ‘backward step’

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Media Release - 17 November 2014


The Royal New Zealand SPCA strongly opposes the proposed Craddock Farms colony cage chicken farm in Patumahoe, South Auckland and calls on Auckland Council to refuse resource consent.

The proposed farm would confine 310,000 layer hens in colony cages. Like SPCAs in the UK, US, and Australia, the RNZSPCA opposes the use of battery and colony cages for hens.

“Colony cages confine each bird into a area about the size of a piece of A4 paper, which means it can’t exhibit its normal behaviours and can’t do much except eat and lay eggs,” says Ric Odom, RNZSPCA CEO.

“We believe the establishment of this farm is a backward step that flies in the face of current trends towards improved animal welfare in the commercial farming of animals.

“The RNZSPCA supports an increasing number of free range layer and broiler chicken farms in New Zealand with our Blue Tick accreditation programme. Farms that win the right to display our Blue Tick are assessed by our third party auditors AsureQuality, including spot checks to ensure that they are meeting our high animal welfare standards.

“The proposed Craddock Farms colony cage facility in Patumahoe would not meet these standards because the 310,000 chickens at the farm would be confined in cages.”

For more information please contact: Ric Odom, Chief Executive Officer, Royal New Zealand SPCA, DDI: +64 9 825 1801, Mobile: +64 27 481 1300, Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

SPCA Renews Calls For Fireworks Ban

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Media Release - 3 November 2014


The Royal New Zealand SPCA welcomes the select committee meeting on Guy Fawkes morning to consider banning the public sale of fireworks.

"The SPCA does not support the private sale and use of fireworks and has long called for a ban on the sale of fireworks to the public," says RNZSPCA CEORic Odom.

"Fireworks and animals simply don't mix. The loud bangs and bright flashes are very frightening to animals and many become highly stressed by them."

"We urge pet owners to keep their pets inside and safe on Guy Fawkes Night. But equally we ask people without pets to be aware of the stress their use of fireworks is likely to be causing in their neighbourhood."

Here are 5 tips to help keep your pets safe and calm on Guy Fawkes Night:

1. Stay home with your pet – they will be less stressed with someone they trust close by.

2. Keep them indoors – where they won't see the flashes and the bangs will be muffled. Close doors and windows and draw the curtains. Turn up the volume on your radio or TV to help drown out loud bangs.

3. Put a collar and registration tag on your dog – if your dog panics and bolts, it will help rescuers reunite you. Attach a disc with your contact phone number.

4. Take special care of elderly or nervous pets – consult your vet for the best advice on keeping them calm, including sedation if necessary.

5. Move horses and farm animals away from fireworks – and make sure all fences are secure. Stable horses where possible.


tvnzKeeping your pets safe this guy fawkes, RNZSPCA Chief Executive Rick Odom shares some tricks of the trade to calm animals during the firework season on Breakfast News 4 November 2014.

For more information please contact: Ric Odom, Chief Executive Officer, Royal New Zealand SPCA, DDI: +64 9 825 1801, Mobile: +64 27 481 1300, Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

List of Shame 2014

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pdfList of Shame 2014


nzheraldRead what Ric Odom, Chief Executive Officer of Royal New Zealand SPCA has to say about the 2014 List of Shame in The New Zealand Herald on 2 November 2014

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